Another case of governments setting up a scheme based on ideological theory and not regulating it properly. Then act surprised when scumbags take advantage of 'free' money.

In 2009, $57.8 million of taxpayer money was paid for Industry Training Organisation courses for which “no evidence of credit achievement” could be found.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said “That’s not a trivial amount, that’s a big deal … that’s $58m to achieve no credits.”

“You can only measure it on credits achieved or … you’re just making yourself feel good.”

More than half the 185,000 trainees in 2009 did not achieve any credits.

Although Mr Joyce said he did not expect everyone to pass credits, the number who achieved no credits at polytechnics was just over 20 per cent.

A lot of money had not been well spent in the ITO sector, he said.

A recent review of 38 ITOs from 2009 showed that 18 had claimed millions to which they were not entitled.

The sector is attempting to recover $4.3m after money was claimed for people not in industry training, including 11 who were dead.

Although $10m was claimed in error, the rest was written off as many ITOs produced more trainees than they were funded for, Mr Joyce said. “Some ITOs obviously went around signing up people madly and the accountability for actual training wasn’t there.”

New measures had been introduced to tighten up the sector, including a register that showed trainees’ progress in real time.

About time too. Although both previous National and Labour governments need to take responsibility for this debacle. As soon as they made tertiary funding about ‘head counts’ then there were always going to be individuals and organisations that took advantage of it – and they did.

The $57 million is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of money wastage in the teritary training sector.